On 26th April 2018 the House of Lords debated the Bat Habitats Regulation Bill, a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Lord Cormack. The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd Graham James, spoke in favour of the Bill, explaining why bat roosts continued to be such a problem for medieval churches.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, we are indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, for the Bill. He has pursued a subject which I think can too easily be treated with mirth, but is not at all funny for those congregations in churches where bats sometimes rule the roost. It is reckoned that about 60% of all 16th-century or earlier churches have bat roosts. It is as significant as that. It is the nature of access to the roofs of medieval churches, I think, which causes the bats to go there, rather than their appreciation of our great, historic heritage. In a diocese such as mine, with 640 churches, of which 550 are medieval, there are places where the bat population outnumbers not simply the congregation but our total number of parishioners.
I used to recommend the regular use of incense, partly because I am very high church and love incense, and bats appear to be very Protestant, as they normally departed where incense was used. But even that is not now guaranteed to do the trick. Clearly, bats have gone up the candle in their churchmanship.
On 10th June 2015 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, received a written answer to a question she had asked of DEFRA on bats in churches.
Asked by Mrs Caroline Spelman (Meriden) on: 04 June 2015
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what information her Department holds on the application and interpretation of provisions in the Habitats Directive on bats inhabiting church premises in other EU member states. Continue reading “Rules on bats in churches – Second Estates Commissioner asks DEFRA”
Mrs Caroline Spelman: Following the General Election the Church Commissioners plan to seek an early meeting with the Department for Communities and Local Government regarding changing the regulations on bat roosts. In recent years the Church of England has seen increased numbers of bats using church buildings as roosts. Continue reading “Church Commissioner Question – Bats in Churches (Written Answer)”
In Church Commissioners Question TIme on Thursday 29th January 2015, the Rt Hon. Sir Tony Baldry MP answered questions on the Archbishop of York’s Book ‘On Rock Or Sand’, Medical Ethics of Mitochondrial Transfer, the Anglican Communion, Financial Education, Women Bishops and Bats in Churches
During the regular slot for questions to the Church Commissioners in the House of Commons on 11th December 2014, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, was asked about maintenance of cathedrals, church repairs, bat damage in churches and general election hustings. A full transcript is below.
English Cathedrals (Maintenance)
Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): [Question:] What representations he has made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding for maintenance of the fabric of English cathedrals that are older than 500 years. Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions – Bats, Buildings, Elections”
On Wednesday 20th March 2013, the Second Church Estates Commissioner Sir Tony Baldry MP posed a written question to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice asking about the plans to mitigate the impact of bats upon churches
On 9th July 2013 Sir Tony Baldry MP answered a written question from Miss McIntosh on the Church Commissioners’ policy on dealing with bats in churches Continue reading “Second Church Estates Commissioner answers written question on bats in churches”
“This is a serious problem; it is not a joke. The issue is getting more difficult, more frustrating and more challenging for more communities all the time, and we look to the Minister and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to come forward with practical proposals to ensure that churches and communities can worship and flourish unimpeded by bats.”
On the 25th June 2013 in Westminster Hall, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Tony Baldry, led a debate on the issue of bats in churches and the impact of the EU habitats directive. Sir Tony described the negative impact that bat populations can have upon artefacts within churches and also the health threat that they pose to members of the congregation.